Most of us make our kids pose by the front door – backpacks slung over the shoulder – for that First Day Of School photo at the start of every year. I have one child who is about to start THE 11th grade and I know I’ve done it every August since he was five. I planned on doing the same thing with my daughter as she starts Kindergarten this year, but after going through the photos I have of her brother I came to a shocking realization. Those First Day Of School photos are neither interesting nor informative. It’s actually a little hard to tell what picture goes with what grade, unless I pull them all together and stack them by Size Of Child In Photo.
I decided, since I get a clean slate this year, I’d try to spice up the traditional photos with my daughter. Maybe make it so that the photos tell a little more than just what they wore, and maybe even create a fun timeline at the end of her educational career. Unlike the photos of her brother which basically just say: I Am Taller Now Than Last Year.
Do a First Day Of School/Last Day Of School photo set with the SAME OUTFIT. This way, you can really see the transformations your child undergoes throughout the school year. Of course, if your children grow as fast as mine do, the clothes may not fit anymore. Which is just as telling, in my opinion.
Notate your child’s Favorite Things on the photo so that you catalog their appearance AND their personality at the same time every year. These type of tidbits are cute for parents to look back on year after year. They are simultaneously embarrassing for kids when they look at them years down the road so…Win/Win!
Add signage to your photos so that you’ll have a better chance of remembering the age of your child in the photo. It’s also a handy way for you and your child to recall past teacher’s names which is very important if you are forgetful like I am.
If you have multiple children, take their photos together every year so you can keep track of their comparitive growth. This would have been especially telling in my family as my younger brother became taller than me the year he was a Freshman and I was a Senior.
I think the best tip I can give – however – is for you parents of teenagers. If you are still trying to document the First Day Of School for your teen, may I suggest staging it the evening before? You know, FAKING that first day of school? Otherwise, this may be the best documentation you have of that memorable day.
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This article was originally published in 2011 & has been updated with current info.
Kim Holmes is a mom of three who has been writing online at www.misszoot.com for over 10 years. She falls down a lot and can often be found with stains on her shirt and mismatched shoes. In other words, Kim does not want you to mistake her for someone glamorous. You can follow her on Twitter (@misszoot) where you can catch her talking about the various TV shows she pretends she doesn't watch.